Heroes of Istal

More confusion

Well then, today’s story is going to be one of mistakes, I’m afraid. We went out to do a lot, achieved little to nothing and, in the end, managed to get split up.
Yeah, I’m not really aching to tell that story, but here we go. Maybe you people can help us make sense of this mess.
What was positive was the fact that we had managed to find Waldo, who had eluded us for a while. The tree guy was a nice addition to our party.

At the end of my previous story, I told you that we’d head out to Baron Crimson and confront him with what we had learned and, quite frankly, that is exactly what we did. For once, we opted to tell one of the rulers of the land everything we knew and make sure that the guy wasn’t unaware of any blind spots or information that we did have. It was quite refreshing, actually.
When we got that over with, Crimson appeared to lighten up to us a bit. At least he considered actually hiring us, instead of sending us all over the country to look for his frickin’ orb without any pay. He asked us to return the next day, when he’d have more information and a strategy for us.

When we returned, Crimson looked properly grim for what he had come up with. His plan consisted of luring Dejour out of his hiding by going to Sannich and loudly claiming that we had a new wind crystal. We’d be transporting it to Crimson and, hopefully, would be intercepted by the man or his cronies as we did so. If we managed to catch anyone, it would be a solid plan.
When we dropped the name of Verlicht, the father of the man who ambushed us with a group of Changelings, though, Crimson seemed troubled. Dejour had been a bodyguard of the baron of Candémòre and Crimson knew the man from a meeting in Sol ti Terro, where he was a guard of Baron Scillio of Mort. The guy went around quite a bit, apparently.
This information threw Crimson for a bit of a loop, though, and he suddenly changed his plans. We could either go to Mort and take a good look around there, or we could go to Candémòre and ‘interrogate’ Verlicht for some information about his son and what he could have been up to. We decided to do just that.
So, as Crimson sent out some people to Mort to feel around, we left to Candémòre, travelling through Sannich.
In Sannich we paid our good friend Tepez a visit, who gave us a courtesy scry of Nimrod. Though he wasn’t able to find an exact location, he managed to tell us a direction: Nimrod was to the southwest of Sannich. Geziah wanted to head there immediately, but we thankfully managed to convince him otherwise as we headed for Candémòre.
We arrived the next day, but it wasn’t quite what we had been expecting of it. It was really just a farmer’s community of separated houses and fields, connected by what could be called a road if you were generous enough. After the necessary trouble we managed to locate an inn called ‘The Sweet Tooth’, which was little more than a converted stable.
What was especially troubling was that this was the point that we remembered we had left Lin and Lucas in Altea.
Yeah.
Don’t know how we had managed to do that, but apparently we were all rather absent-minded at that exact moment.
The remaining party split up to try and find something resembling a mansion, where Verlicht would probably be living, and eventually managed to converge on the largest farm of the area. It was rather obvious, even though it could hardly be called a ‘mansion’. It was staffed by a butler, though, who was friendly enough to lead Jimmy and me to Verlicht.

This is where things started going wrong for us. We asked Verlicht about Dejour, but he claimed not to know Dejour. When we pressed on and told him that the man had hired Dejour as a bodyguard, we realized we made a mistake. Dejour had never played bodyguard for Verlicht.
Well, that’s what you get when you let one man guard so many people.
Well, anyway, with that embarrassing point out of the way, we went back to the matter at hand. We asked about his son and got the same story about the Changelings. Apparently he had been pulled into the wrong kind of fight, and us claiming that it was possible that Dejour was part of that put him in a bit of a foul mood.
We got a letter from him to Sannich, in which he allegedly asked for more information. Well, I can tell you, even I was tired of all the political bull by that time, so I heartily agreed when Jimmy suggested we just open the letter and read it.
For once, we weren’t being lied to.
Geziah sealed the letter again, after which we headed to Count Sannich to give it off. Sannich, I can tell you, was suddenly a lot more interested in what we had to tell. We dropped the information about the Changelings in Mort, and the man suggested that, with the running rumour of the insurance scam next to the Changelings, ‘serious actions’ might have to be taken against Crimson. He told us in the same breath that he couldn’t help us with that, which was unfortunately a bit sad.

Things had turned into such a clusterfuck that we decided to let the political situation of Istal boil for a bit while we turned our attention back on Nimrod. Following Tepez’s hint, we went south and met a small village of elves at – how could it be any else? – the edge of a forest.
We quickly met the village elder, who could tell us about the passing of a Gnome and the way he went into the forest. Geziah immediately wanted to follow and didn’t let himself be dissuaded this time, so we entered the forest. We had to spend the night there, after which we actually found footsteps which leaded to a clearing with a circle of tree roots in the middle.
Then we finally met the illusive Nimrod. The guy was sitting in a tree and spent a little while taunting Geziah, after which he promised the Avenger that he’d return the Star of Corellon if he managed to catch the Gnome.
Then the little asshole jumped into the circle of roots, which turned out to be a portal. Geziah, Lanaya and Waldo followed without thinking, but Jimmy and I looked at each other and thought better of it. We waited for a while, but when we finally decided to follow them down, the portal closed on us.
We were locked out, away from our friends, and it was our own damn fault.

Ah, I remember the days we were just killing ants…

First

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Minor Exposition

As you might or might not remember, we’re going to start this story while we were still figuring out what to do with the multicoloured potions and their many, many possible applications and implications. I have to be honest with you, none of us had any kind of clue while we were weighing the different colours against the hints of the riddle. In the end, we decided that the red and the blue potion probably had something to do with it, but we didn’t know what would be the real way to go and we didn’t know how it would affect us if we made a mistake, so we decided to can the potions until we had more of a clue.
So we started to go out again, even though it didn’t really go as smoothly as we had expected it to go. When Geziah opened the portal on our sign and started running, we went out and ran right into Lucas, who bumped us back in before closing the portal again. Total accident, I’m sure.

No, sorry, I couldn’t keep a straight face. That guy made a fool of himself and he knows it.
This happened twice more before we finally managed to get out, just because the guy probably got it that we had dealt with the problems they had fled from without the help of him and his sister Lin.
After we had sorted that out, verbally chewed the two out for running out on us, and deciding to give them another chance, we headed back to Sannich to sell those books we had looted from the bookshelves in the dungeon. I dumped most of the party in our usual inn while Lanaya went with me to see what it’d be like to be the mind of the party.
I’ll keep the story of what we had to do to ‘sell’ the books to a minimum, for it really isn’t worth much retelling. Kurt Tepez, the son of the forgetful magician, didn’t want to buy them. Nor did the Merchant’s Guild, nor did Christopher of the bookstore. We ended up in an antique shop, which was willing to trade us a couple of enchanted chess pieces for the whole collection, or pay us 25 gold.
Yeah, we had been hoping to get a little more loaded from that venture, but we took the chess pieces and our loss with it.

En route back to the inn I recalled the last time the Untouchables had spent more than five minutes out of my direct viewpoint, so we detoured by the closest guardpost to see if they had been arrested yet.
Surprisingly, they had behaved at least reasonably well and were still sitting in the inn. Drunk out of their minds, true, but they were still in the inn. We decided, and by that I mean that Lanaya and I decided, to drop a note by Count Sannich of where our recent escapades were taking us and head for Fiumero next. The reasoning behind it was rather lost on me, but we decided to go there and that was that.
I threw a bucket of water over Geziah, hoping it would sober him up before he would wake up the next day. The guy took his revenge on me the next morning, though once again, his childish behaviour doesn’t really warrant any extended explanation. It was just what I had to sit through, at the time.
When we wanted to leave, though, Kurt came running at us: his dad had disappeared when he would visit an old friend. Though we were sceptical at first, thinking the old guy had made a wrong turn somewhere and just got lost in the city, Kurt was very insistent on us going out to find his father.
Well, he had helped us out in the past, as well, so the least we could do was comb through the city. We started tracing the old man’s steps, to see between which point he had disappeared, and found a letter in his room. He’d have a meeting in ‘The Three Crowns’, the expensive inn of town. Even though we knew that we’d be way out of place in there, what with us still being relatively poor adventurers, we made haste to get there.
Even though we got rather strange looks in the inn, the barkeep was willing to answer a couple of our questions. It’s quite possible that he did it just to get us out as fast as possible, but I still feel bad for not leaving the guy some semblance of a tip as we made our way out.
But the man had some good answers for us. Apparently, mister Tepez had entered the inn alone and had left it alone. He had just been there to receive a letter, though the good man couldn’t tell us from whom he got it.
At that point, alarm bells started ringing in my mind. When someone ‘only’ receives a letter, it’s usually something bad. So while we let Lanaya go wild on the original letter, let her do some scrying and other arcane stuff I don’t really get, I happened upon a piece of paper that was relatively close to where Tepez had his short conversation. It contained an address somewhere in town, which happened to coincide rather well with what Lanaya had seen.
So we could’ve saved ourselves some reagents by using our eyes instead of our minds, but what the hey.

As we arrived at the address, we realized the door was locked.
Suddenly, I felt sorry for not trying to save Jackie a bit harder. Now, Jimmy went wild on the door, eventually headbutting it and going straight through.
Yeah, he opened the door using his head. It’s the most practical way the man can use it, I’m sure.
We got our entrance, anyway, so we went in to a practical living area. We found a door that hid a set of stairs going downwards, though, so we went down there.
Lanaya was quick to cast some lighting spell the very moment we realized there was preciously little light, so she and I started going ahead for a bit through a stone hallway. We met a steel door, though we figured we’d never get it open with our limited expertise, so we went on to the rest of the hallway, which lead us to some kind of large cavern.
Lanaya suddenly stopped in front of me, something that should have been my first warning that things weren’t going the way we wanted things to go. I was blind, though, and pushed past her, activating a trap.
Now, I have to tell you, I got pushed around quite badly during the fight that followed, so my accounts of them are rather hazy.
What I do remember is Geziah running past us, into the darkness, and suddenly starting to scream about zombie snakes. Lanaya started attacking our friends, who were just starting to pile into the room as they followed my shouts of pain and Geziah’s panicked sounds.
Something I recall very clearly is Betsy, Lanaya’s ‘lovely’ magma monster, deciding that I was more of a tasty treat than the many snakes that were inhabiting the room. I went down, was woken up by Jimmy and basically went down again.
People who remember Jimmy’s retelling of our encounter with the Raven’s Heralds will probably find that this story might have some things in common with that one. I suffered quite a lot, something I’m expecting to do even more when I start following the road of the Holy Avenger.
ANYway, long story short, by the time I woke up again, the building was destabilized and probably collapsing on itself. Everyone was running out the way we got in, though Geziah opened the steel door in the hallway to find mister Tepez sitting there.
Yeah.
We could’ve saved ourselves a lot of time and pain if we had just opened that door on the way in instead of just passing it.
As we left the house and started counting heads, we realized we couldn’t find Lanaya anywhere. The mystery of where she had disappeared to was quickly solved when her terrified scream came from out of the collapsing house.
I hated it, but I knew I couldn’t leave her there. She could’ve been wounded, or trapped, and just letting her die in there was not something I was planning to let happen.
So I went in, just to see her cower behind a ghost of some kind. As I started flinging Lances at it, I shouted at her that she could just move through the damned thing. Something she had apparently forgotten.
Though, in my zeal, I didn’t realize I had wounded the beast. My punishment came down soon enough, even though Jimmy managed to pull me out before the ghostly creature took advantage of it and the house collapsed on top of me. Sometimes I hate that I’m so nice to people I don’t hate yet.

Once everyone was outside, Lanaya got the classic idea of trying to interrogate mister Tepez. It was rather cute, she wasn’t aware of how… absent the good man is, and he quickly managed to whittle down her patience.
In the end, Jimmy just dragged everyone back to the Tepez’s house, where Kurt was still waiting for us. He gave us a pair of Holy Gauntlets as a reward for saving his dad, though with the destruction of the house on our name, we’d probably get well known in the city once more.
I recall an ‘accident’ with alcohol and the Sannich estate that left our good name in the dirt already, anyway, so this probably didn’t even damage our name too badly. It couldn’t have done more damage then Jackie had done to it in Milicio, simply because that isn’t possible, but that’s an old story already.
So, as we started gearing up to leave again, Kurt stopped us for a second time. He asked us about our quest, which we’ve been doing ever since we first met him in the Black Dragon’s cave. We figured we could tell him about Dejour, after which the good man offered to scry him if we could get him the man’s full name.
Well, none of us could.
We tried to tell the man as much as possible, though the fact that he was working with a cult of the Raven Queen created some friction between Lanaya and Jimmy.
After some awkward glances, we even told the man about the Changelings he had employed and the frustration it had left us with. When Kurt told us he wasn’t especially for or against them he risked his health for a couple of seconds until we realized that we really had no reason to harm the man for his personal opinion, no matter how much we disagreed with it.
At least, that’s what I told Geziah as I was pulling him back from the man.
Anyway, Kurt told us that he’d do what he could and that we’d best return the next day to get the results of the surely time-consuming ritual.

When we returned, Kurt didn’t have any good news for us. He hadn’t found much we didn’t already know, which wasn’t much to start with, anyway.
His father, of all people, did waltz in, telling us that he did find out a thing or two. That Dejour was in the city, for one.
Even though we were wary of the man’s absent mind, we decided not to risk this golden opportunity and went out with haste. We asked everyone we could find, but we couldn’t find Dejour. We even left his description at the local Guardhouse, where we got the promise that the city gates would be monitored in the name of the people who defeated the Blazing Rider. That must’ve made sense, somewhere.
When we were there, though, the weirdest thing happened. A guard walked in, but something wasn’t completely right with him. It took me a moment, but I suddenly realized that the guard was actually a Changeling in disguise. He went straight for us and asked the Untouchables to come with him, as if he had known we would be there.
Jimmy, Geziah and I followed the man, telling Lanaya, Lin and Lucas to wait up for us while we were dealing with this situation. I could tell that both Geziah and Jimmy were pretty tense, but so was I. I couldn’t, and still can’t, blame any of us for that.
It came as a surprise to us when the guy flat-out said ‘yeah, I am’ when we accused him of being a Changeling. He told us he was infiltrating the people surrounding Count Sannich as part of the usual political intrigue, and he figured he had a thing or two he could tell us.
So, he told us about the son of Verlicht, the guy who had tried to assassinate us with his group of Changelings when we spent the night in an inn, had workings with the wrong kind of people. The story about the Changelings might have been made up to cover him up, because Count Sannich had good ties with Verlicht and might be connected to the assassination otherwise.
It was an interesting theory and, as I said before, blaming a Changeling for something bad that happened to us was something I wouldn’t hold above the likes of Jimmy, let alone above someone who was experienced in political intrigue and backstabbing and the likes.
We thanked the guy, not saying that he should be glad he could still walk, and went outside. We quickly briefed the people we had left outside, after which we decided to go to Count Sannich and immediately confront him with this information.
Well, the guy had sent out for us, he apparently wanted all of us to join him for a meeting and we were quite happy to comply. It saved me a lot of red tape to wade my way through, which is something I’m always happy to get around.
Yes, that is because it appears that the red tape is usually placed in exactly such a way that it’s made the hardest for me, and me alone.

But, as we entered the usual meeting room with the Count, we noticed that he was in a bit of a foul mood. He clearly had his own interests to help us out, because he immediately started off by telling us that he had been performing his own research on Dejour.
It would’ve been nice if he had told us that before, but what the hey, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and all that.
The man had been a bodyguard to different people, most notably Baron Scillio and Baron Crimson, though he was supposed to be just as dead as Scillio was at the point.
The name Scillio sounded like a name I was supposed to know, though it failed to ring any bells at the time, and it still does. I really hope we’ll find out soon, though, because if Dejour is alive, chances are that Scillio is so as well.
There was some interesting gossip on Crimson, as well. He appeared to be bankrupt, though the insurance on the Wind Crystal we had ‘lost’ had given him some windfall that kept him going for a little longer. The Baron was apparently also an ex-Count, though he was demoted by Baron Farla, who became Count Farla thanks to that little stunt, by bringing up some dark business from Crimson’s past. What kind of dark business, Count Sannich couldn’t tell us.
He also made clear that he couldn’t possibly help us more, for his political reach didn’t go all the way to Altea. That was a bit of a bummer.
Confronting the Count with the story of Verlicht, you know, for a little bit of story from both sides, gave us a very irritated response. All he was willing was that there was suspected Death Magic in the play, which made all arrows point to necromancers. I really didn’t want to meet necromancers.
Jimmy, in his audacity, requested more funding from Sannich immediately after that. After some to and from, the count actually agreed and told us that he’d have a bit for us within a week, so we’d stay in town for another week before leaving again.

When we got outside again, the potions and their magical hints entered my mind again. They had been taking up room in our Bag of Holding all this time and, quite frankly, I was growing tired of it.
So, I decided to just give it a shot, consequences be damned. Fortune Favours the Bold and all that.
The first four or five of them just blasted me, clearly poisoning me, but I managed to stand until I got to the purple potion.

The First is the Uppermost;
The Second is the Backdrop.

Red and blue make purple. It makes sense, in hindsight, that this potion gave me the promised effect of a stronger mind for a short time. It’s probably for the better that we didn’t try to use these potions during a fight.
With that riddle solved we dumped the last remaining potions and started wasting away for a week, after which we received a pretty paltry amount of money and left for Altea.
And yes, we finally succeeded in leaving Sannich. In a completely different direction than we had planned, but hey. At least we had a goal again.

We’re going to confront count Crimson with his knowledge of Dejour and maybe find out what kind of ‘dark business’ he had been doing in the past. I’m also pretty sure that, if we do, he’ll deny everything to start with.
If we can’t get anything out of the man, I’m out of ideas, I can tell you that. I don’t know what to do if this road turns out dead, as well.

First

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Asylum of Terror - Final Part

Even though they managed to fight off the creatures from the mirror, retrieve the body of Warryn and find a new way to get out of this part of the Asylum, their journey would not end yet. But as time passed and the adventurers reached one of the final hallways inside this dungeon, both Lee and Snails knew they were close to reach it. They knew it in their guts. And they could hear it in the sound of the air all around them. As if the entire Asylum waited for this very moment.

At the end of the corridor awaited the door that would guide them to safety, but before they could reach it, they had to get across of a couple of thousands of traps. Shooting arrows, spiked floors, blades that sliced the thin air apart and many passages that were connected to the hallway; each containing one skeleton warrior, silently resting. Till it was awaken, that is.
“I guess this is the part where we all say how delighted we are with visiting the Asylum of Terrors,” Lee said. He grabbed for his War Axe and prepared for the final charge, although he knew he would basically just run. He did not like the thought of that.
“We will be fine,” Snails replied. Lee immediately noticed the missing of the usual humiliating nickname the rogue mostly enclosed with every sentence he made.
“What is it Halfling? No “bloated warrior” this time? Are you finally going to treat me with the respect I deserve?”
“I guess so.”
“You ain’t scared now ey?” The Halfling glanced at the dwarf, but looked back after a short moment.
“No. I am not scared. Just a pity it has to end this way.”
“Without any treasures apart from a cursed War Axe, aye, that is a pity. Don’t you worry little one, we can still sell it for a reasonable price, not to mention the gold we will make when we sell all of Orsik’s equipment.”
“Lee, you are not going to sell my equipment. You will use the scroll to raise me from the dead and then I will obtain my items as we had discussed before,” Orsik stated.
“Na, we won’t,” Lee simply answered, “Halfling, I have the bag of holding safely in my pocket. You know: I don’t die. Now let’s do this: on the count of three.” Snails hesitated, but then nodded firmly. Heck, he wouldn’t die here. He would enjoy the little things of life… and the big ones, once he got out of this dungeon. Isn’t that what he tells himself all the time? Because of that, it was Snails who started the countdown:
“One.”
“Two,” Lee continued.
“Three!” both of them shouted, but only the rogue actually ran. Too late, Snails realized he was left alone, a single Halfling facing countless of traps all at once. Shocked, he looked back, facing the treachery of Lee first hand, as he remained back, laughing. A trap door was shortly released afterwards, blocking Snails path back to the dwarf and offering him just one way to go, which was straight through the fatal corridor. As if the situation wasn’t bad enough already, he could hear the footsteps of four enemies closing in on him. Surrounding him. And all the dwarf did was laugh again:
“Do your best rogue. Disable as many traps as you can. Grant me passage through this. And consider this as a thank you for the backstabbing you did earlier on.”

Snails quickly turned and ran, knowing there was no better solution in this maze of death traps. He was bedazzled, confused, and he knew he was finally beaten, with only a few seconds to remain. Reaching two small passages connected to the corridor, he saw the enemies he once heard and jumped back to face the skeletons that were coming out of it. They weren’t like the monstrosities the adventurers encountered in the first room. As a matter of fact, in any normal situation, these skeletons were hardly worth the effort. Their bodies seemed weak. Their blades broken and in a state of decay. The little Halfling could breach their defenses in a matter of seconds. But a sound arose. A screeching sound of metal conducting electricity… lots of electricity. Snails didn’t even look back at the electrified wall behind him that was reaching forward, but instead rushed into the skeleton and stabbed him with a single blow to the ground. Tumbling over him, he continued his journey, barely dodging the fire that was being fired at him, being impaled by the various arrows crossing the room, but moving nonetheless, one square at a time, just to reach the opening on the far end of the room. He was close, so close. But then he slipped.

The tiles under his feet began to crack. Then they broke. A trap pit was shown under it, with a hole that was big enough to let the Halfling in, but too high to get out of. Snails tried though. In a worthless attempt, he tried to climb the walls of the pit, but he had no grip. He tried to call out for help, but there was no one to listen. And as all of his hopes were crushed, he smiled. He smiled, knowing he was at the very end of his existence. He smiled, knowing he would not let death scare him off. In his final moments, Snails smiled.

Lee could see how the Halfling fell into the pit. He could also see how the electrified fence moved in its direction. And as he saw the pit rising, returning Snails back into the corridor, just to be crushed by the fence, he shivered.
“Well, that is a shame,” Orsik spoke quietly. Lee nodded. Waiting for the traps to reset, and the trap door being raised once again, he closed his eyes. Five adventurers of exceptional talents had entered the dungeon. One of them remained.
“Well cleric, I guess this is it. It was nice knowing ya.”
“Not really, but I appreciate the gesture.”
“Good,” Lee grinned as he prepared himself for his final charge. But it wasn’t his War Axe he grabbed during the preparation. It was a smaller, rounder object enfolded in a small piece of cloth. He placed it next to Orsik’s ghost.
“You know, I think I really owe you something. So consider this as a token of my appreciation.” Orsik’s ghost flickered agitated at the item that was dropped next to him.
“Gee thanks, so how do you think am I going to open this “token of appreciation”? I don’t have any arms left!”
“Aye, that is a pity,” Lee replied, as he stood before the gate that was about to open.
“So, you are going to tell me what it is?” The dwarf turned his head. His voice almost seemed nice and sweet, when he answered the question:
“It is my puppet.”
“Your puppet? Wait. No! You are not going to leave my head here! You get back this instance! You hear me! Get back!” But Lee already ran.

The dwarf will be remembered as the last living person who set foot in the Asylum. One of the first to cross the corridor still breathing. But still, he did not get across unharmed. His body was bleeding. His muscles bruised. His bones broken. The corridor had even crippled his will. With one hand on his waist and with the other leaning against a wall, he looked back at the various traps he had just crossed, swearing he would never set foot in this forsaken place once more. The thought of his pain pierced his mind. The voices of the dead made him gasp. But then he stood up and stretched his arms, holding his War Axe in the air. It was done.
“Three adventurers worth of loot, a magical war axe, and once I have found that troublesome guide, I will even claim back the gold that is rightfully mine. Aye, that little cleric was right, the treasures are better than I had ever imagined.” The dwarf looked around, scanning the room beyond the corridor quickly. All there was, was a entrance to the next room, and a few levers on the sight.
“Let me see. A lever labeled with “certain death”. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like a plan to me. A lever labeled with “disable trap.” Yep, that is more like it.” And as he turned the switch, the final trap was activated and the ground beneath his feet crumpled. Lee Putter, last living person who set foot in the Asylum, fell into the depths, and would be both the last one living, as the last one to be devoured by the dungeon.

That is, till there is a new group of adventurers willing to set foot in the Asylum of Terrros.

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Asylum of Terror - Part 7-7

Although none of them liked the fact that they had to work with an insane wizard, an idle dwarf and a backstabbing rogue, their survival instincts withheld them from any further violence towards eachother. Lee settled with the fact that the wizard did offer a solution to the problem at hand, even though it included another explosion, with candles the wizard seem to have a sick fascination for.
“I had heard of them before, but when I see them now, I am simply in awe of the brilliant design. Candles that go boom. Could you imagine that?” Lee and Snails sighed, but their eyes met and without saying a word, they agreed to a certain promise. The wizard would not survive the Asylum.

But for now, they acted as one. The situation clearly described the necessity of all three of them to work together. No one knew how long this dungeon was going to take and from this moment forward, there was no turning back. There was only one way to go from here: the hole in the wall and from the point where they sat and relaxed, they could already see what was beyond it. They were. Or well, it was a room to be precise, crossed from one end to the other by a large mirror, where they could see themselves waiting.
“That is not just a mirror,” Lee spoke, speaking out loud what everyone thought. Snails nodded.
“My balloon shaped friend here speaks the truth. There is clearly something wrong with it.”
“I can break it,” Warryn said, “I can break everything.”
“You do break everything,” Orsik replied, “Please, give us a moment to think of a more sophisticated way to solve this.” And so, they sat down a bit more, staring at the mirror and thought.
“There is nothing in the room except for the mirror you know,” Warryn mentioned after a moment or two. The sparkle of light flickered.
“Just let us think oke? Maybe there is something we miss.” And so, they sat down a bit more, staring at the mirror and thought.
“I agree, I now see that there is air too. Air is nice. We can make fire with it. Shall I?” The sparkle of light flickered a bit more. Agitated, Orsik answered:
“Warryn, you know what happened the last time you used fire to “solve things”…”
“Yes, I made a hole in the wall and kept Lee and Snails alive with it…”
“Yeah, well, just do us the honor of keeping your mouth closed while we think of a better solution.” And so, they sat down a bit more, staring at the mirror and thought.
“I don’t think…”
“Oh, for the love of god, just shoot the blasted thing then!” Warryn stood up, murmled a little cheer, and grabbed his spell book to make an educated guess for which spell the biggest boom would give. He sighed as he saw that his favorite: Fireball was allready spent… although it was totally worth it, and continued crossing down powers that were “just not doing the trick”.
“I can shoot a magic missile at it?” Warryn finally said.
“Great, do it,” Orsik answered.
“No, no, the impact would probably just crack the glass. Then I have to shoot a secondaire missile, which is just lame. If I have calculated this correctly however, according to the wind,…”
“Warrick, we are inside of a dungeon, there is no wind.”
“… the difference between the current atmosphere, and that of the room next to us…”
“There is no difference between those.”
“and the substance of the material…”
“It is a mirror, what do you think?!”
“… then I think an explosion of reasonable size would shatter the mirror completely.”
“Which is?”
“I don’t know yet. Let me take a look at my spellbook again.”

Minutes passed. Minutes in which Orsik slowly but steadily started cursing his life more and more for the situation he was brought in. A rogue that killed him and a wizard that refuses to act because something isn’t explosive enough does that to a man. But at one point, Warryn seemed satisfied somehow, knowing he discovered the ultimate solution. Lifting one of the few candles remaining with his Mage’s Hand, he placed it next to the mirror, only to set it on fire afterwards with one of his spells. The explosion made him smile. The result however didn’t.
“The mirror is still there!” Warryn screamed. Instead of the mirror, he saw his formidable plan being shattered as the mirror remained. He felt shame due to the failiure. And deep within his soul, he knew he had done the very thing from which there is no returning. He did not destroy. What kind of wizard does that kind of thing?!
“Nope, you destroyed it allright,” Lee said as he stood next to him. He pointed to a spot at the far end, at which his reflection reacted by doing the very same thing. “You see that. There used to be a sparkle of light over there. You know, because of Orsik and the whole: being dead and now forever wandering as a ghost stuff. Therefore, the guys you see now must be the real thing.”
“Thank god,” Warryn replied. He actually sounded relieved at the forthcoming of three new contesters. Orsik sighed at the remark.
“Gentlemen, please…” the cleric urged, “There is a bigger problem at hand. If they are not your reflections, then what are they?” Unfortunately, no one could answer to that.

“Lee, go in and find out what these beings are,” Orsik ordered. Lee laughed.
“And how the hell are you going to force me? Float next to me? Glitter in a scary way?” Warryn quickly searched his spellbook for a spell that can force movement, but didn’t find anything suitable. Shrugging his shoulders, he only said:
“He has a point you know.” The cleric murmeled another curse dedicated to his unfortunate life. Then he asked:
“Okay then, Lee, would you please go in? With your endurance and fortitude, any trap would most surely fail against your unseen bravery and neverending strength.”
“That is better.”
“So, will you go?”
“No, of course not.” The sparkle of light flickered again.
“I’ll go,” Snails said at the sight of the two arguing, “There is nothing that can go wrong right?” Orsik, Warryn and Lee all knew better, but shrugged their shoulders nonetheless, confirming the rogue’s words. Better that he found out for himself that situations like these tend to be dangerous. Could be a wise lesson… if he survives, that is.

Of course, the rogue knew better than that. And he was undoubtedly aware of the fact that walking into three enemies that look exactly the same as the adventuring group, isn’t the smartest thing to do. He just didn’t believe the copies were enemies at all. More likely, it was all a part of the trap. If they would engage the dublicates, they would engage themselves. If they die, the adventurers would die as well. It was for that reason, Snails decided to just walk into the room, and watch his movement being copied by his own double in the exact same way. The rogue then waved. According to his beliefs, his copy would then do the same, proving him to be harmless, if they would just leave the duplicates alone. And indeed, Snails’s double immediately lifted its hand and moved it. However, the copy did that only as a sheer requirement for grabbing the crossbow on his back and use it to pierce poor Snail’s intestines. It hurted. And it wasn’t so much that the shocking realization of his wrong damaged his pride. Nope, it just hurted as hell. As the rogue dropped to his knees, Lee and Warryn didn’t hesitate, but entered the room in an attempt to protect their beloved colleague… and well… just have some fun by slaughtering the copies. But there was no telling if they would be there in time.

A single cluster of violence surrounded the rogue and it was unclear what was actually happening. Snails could only watch how the two separate teams continued fighting eachother in a series of dodges and parries, as both of them seem to act perfectly to the situation at hand. Lee attacked Lee, knew exactly how Lee would react to the attack and therefore manouvered away from Lee before Lee could actually land an succesfull blow on Lee. Snails gasped for air. He felt his power weakening and the pain clouding his mind. He stood up, barely, and his sight blurred down to a haze of images. Lees, more then one Lee, were moving around him. With one of them he had fought side by side, with the other he should fight face to face. And meanwhile the impact of Warryn’s spells were surrounding him, bringing Snails to utter confusion. The rogue dropped down on his knees again, almost losing consciousness, but his mind held on and so, he stood up. He walked away from the fight, mustered enough strength to grab his own crossbow and pointed it in a certain direction.
“I will not end this way,” Snails said, breathing loudly and loaded his crossbow while searching for his enemy. But as he looked across the room, he managed to take a glimpse of what seemed to be… a door. “A door?”
“I am truly surprised,” Orsik replied with a clear tone of sarcasm in it. Somehow, he managed to laugh at the irony of a door in clear sight for those who would have just searched the room before making any rash decision. Like breaking a mirror. With explosives. The laughter didn’t take long however.
“Come on!” Snails shouted, and quickly regretted the decision as he felt the pain bursting in his longs, “There is a door over here, let’s get the hell out!” Warryn was the first one to react, as he immediately opened the door and ran inside of it. Lee stepped back as well, but stayed in the room to held of any attacks that might come through his defense and reach the weakened rogue. But after taking a hit or two, he took a short glance at the rogue, who still haven’t moved yet, nor entered the door.
“What the hell you think you doing? Need my boot to kick you inside or what?” Snails looked back at Lee. His face had turned white. And Lee didn’t even have to ask for the reason of it.
“The ultimate challenge!” the gnomish voice of Warryn shouted, “Let my fire rain upon you! Let my curses cripple you! Let my will shatter you into oblivion. You, Beholder of the ancient depths, I challenge thee…” Then the sound stopped.
“Aye, close the door,” Lee spoke.
“He is still alive,” Snails replied as he saw the monster closing in after stunning the little gnome.
“Aye, close the door.”

Nobody felt remorse. Perhaps no one really thought about it cause of the battle at hand. Or perhaps it was due to the simple fact that they didn’t actually liked the wizard to begin with. But the primary reason for their absent sorrow was of course the twinkling light that originated from the door, and floated next to Orsik.
“Seeing the condition you are now in, I guess you didn’t win the battle?” the cleric asked. Warryn glittered.
“I did not fail,” he simply answered. Even though Lee seemed to be quite occupied at the moment, battling Snails’ counterpart rather than his own, as his axe quickly got the upper hand in melee combat against the crossbow of his enemy, he still managed to speak a few words:
“Aye, but you did not win either, now did you?” After a few attacks, he quickly forced the duplicate to the ground, a position wherein only Lee’s mercy could safe its life. Lee however does not know the meaning of the word mercy. The only thing he saw was an enemy ready to be finished off. After that, his interest in the duplicate was soon to be forgotten, leaving him with only one goal left: his own copy, as Warryn’s double had already disappeared as soon as the gnome was killed off by the devourer-like beast. Although the two adventurers were weakened, they were still with two of them, against only one enemy. The result of the battle was already clear.

Asylum of Terror – Final Part

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Asylum of Terror - Part 6-7

With a thundering roar, Lee grabbed his weapon, lifted it in the air and stood there, in the midst of the three snakes, as a true hero. For a moment there was no doubt his skill was only matched by the power of his allies, nor that his valor would ever fail. His weapon shined bright in the glow of the burning torches and his eyes seemed to long for blood. Before the snakes could react to his roar, Lee allready started his assault by dropping his newly found axe to the ground and smiting any snake in the way. The only problem was… an adventurer should never use an item found here, in the Asylum of Terrors.

Lee’s own voice was the first thing that could be heared. His scream was one of furious hate, but he screamed nonetheless when the axe decided to turn a fraction and, rather then attacking the snake’s body, slicing three of his toes instead. It wasn’t short after that the snakes decided this was the perfect time to go in for the kill. Their poisonous venom filled the room, damaging brave heroes here and there, and poor Lee, who was standing in the middle of it, dropped down, unable to fight anymore.

It was this sight that made the wizard twitch. He closed his hands into a fist, stepped away from the fight and looked down upon the snakes, shouting:
“If we go down, then we go down… in style. Let us be remembered, let us be feared, for this shall be our final stand and I intend to take this whole Asylum with me if I have to!” A glimmer of light exposed the one person that did hear him. Orsik, late cleric, floated towards the wizard in an almost hasty way. It would have been hasty if he still got any legs left to run hasty with.
“Idiot! It is not worth it. You can still live. You can still go outside, bring my remains with you and resurect me. There is no use for you to die here as well.” Warryn closed his fists even tighter, in an attempt to contain the magical powers in it that were trying to escape in an hellish fury, but managed to give a simple remark:
“You are dead. Shut up. I am trying to kill stuff.”
“You are trying to kill yourself! Don’t do it. Think of the loot. You just have to stay alive!” Warrick thought about it for a moment, but his hands didn’t change its position. In fact, the tumult that seemed to arise from it only increased, to a state where sudden flames started to emerge from the sides. If Orsik still had a throat, he would gulp.
“What the hell are you doing?!”
“Doing what a wizard should do,” Warryn grinned. And with those words, the containment was forfeited, the seal was broken and the powers unleashed. In a fragment of a second, the whole room was scorched, every inch of air absorbed by the heat of the flame that erupted. The snakes were thrown against the wall due to the impact of the explosion and poor Elvin, flying around in a couple of butterflies, was simply toast. The fireball was complete. The battle ended as Warryn predicted. With a blaze of glory… or well, at least with a blaze.

Lee coughed. Snails stumbled over the dead body of Elvin. And Waryn just blew hard at his hands in an attempt to cool it a bit down. Those were the three adventurers, the last ones remaining to live in this dungeon. And even that would change within a brief period of time. Their air was running out. In a room like this, after a fireball like that, who could tell what their chances of survival were? A matter of minutes… and even that was an optimistic estimation.
“I should kill you. Right here. Right now,” Lee swore, but instead he coughed one time more. Snail sat next to him and reached for his weapon, but his hand felt mid air. The lack of air already began to ask its toll.
“My round friend here is right. We should kill you. But we won’t. We can’t. Need to get out of here first. We can still survive this if we find a way out.” Warryn, who was obviously in better shape than the rest of them, could only laugh at the sight of them. He enjoyed the damage he had done, which, in his opinion, every wizard should do. It is the damage that describes whether a man is worthy to be called by that title or not. And he clearly was worth it.
“I am just… content to see you still alive Lee. Apparantly you dodged the flames when you got knocked down. Impressive… or whatever you want to call it. Clearly the gods favor you if they want to reward such a failure.”
“I don’t know. Maybe you should ask them when I slid your throat and send you back to your maker,” Lee replied. His fingers curled around his waraxe; the one that wasn’t cursed, but he didn’t use it. He knew he didn’t had the strength to do it.
“Hold your horses all. First thing you three got to do is getting out of here. Don’t waste any time insulting each other; you can do that as soon as you have escaped from this room.”
“Very well,” Warryn answered and summoned a mage’s hand, that quickly obtained the candles Orsik had found earlier on. “We’ll use these.”
“Candles?” Lee snarled, “What are you going to do with them? Light them up and stick them up your…” But before he could finish his sentence, Warryn had already placed them near the wall on the other side. Urging the others to get down, he created a small flame in his palm, immediately regretting for his choice as the heat nullified any attempts made to cool it down, and send the flame towards the pile of candles. The result was… catastrophic.

As soon as the smoke cleared, the three remaining adventurers saw what the “candals” actually did with the wall it was placed next to. Bricks, once placed with utter precision, were scattered amongst the room. The stone itself couldn’t even be recognized. It had simply crumbled to dust. Faded away by the strength of the blast. Snails wiped the stone residu of his face, looking in utter shock at the result, but quickly started smiling:
“I have to agree, you sure know how to fix problems.” He looked delighted at the opening in the wall, and breathed deeply when the air on the other side made its way to his throat. After a few seconds, both the rogue and the dwarf regained their strength. But with their strength they also regained their pride, and especially Lee didn’t forget that it was Warryn who tried to kill them all in the first place. Lee does not like it when people try to kill him.
“You messed with the wrong dwarf for the last time,” Lee spoke and once again, he held his axe in the air to make a finishing blow. But a sparkle of light and a shiver through his spines made him stop. A ghost was speaking to him. And it wasn’t Orsik.
“Guys, where the hell am I? Can’t see no companion butterflies, nor any bees, or wasps for that matter, nor any mosquitos, or dragonflies. I am not my own self am I? Can’t see my feet, arms, legs, fingers, can’t even see my elbow, let me say you that. Am I invisible? Blind perhaps? No I am not blind, I can see you.”
“Welcome back Elvin,” another voice whispered. Lee remembered this one as Orsik’s. “You are, unfortunatly, now staying with me in the realm on the other side.”
“The realm on the other side? Like in the nether world, the oblivion… maybe heaven? Na, like that is going to happen, I might go to hell, perhaps thrown in the purgatory itself, be eaten by the Raven Queen, wouldn’t that be funny… no it wouldn’t, that isn’t the case anyway. What is happening guys, I can’t be like…”
“Yeah, you are dead,” Snails answered and added: “Sorry buddy.” The sparkle of light sparkled a little bit more.
“Bummer…” Elvin said shortly after. Lee nodded, pointed his axe towards Warryn, and seemed very much obliged to the idea of taking vengeance on his behalf. Even though Elvin suggested no such thing.
“You have to agree: your death can’t get any more glorious than this!” Warryn cheered.
“By being scorched to death? Due to an incompent wizard who happens to be your ally?” Orsik replied.
“Incompetent? Didn’t you see the size of that blast?! And he had the honor to witness it!”
Elvin didn’t answer to that, but simply left with a single sob. The sparkle of light disappeared. The druid was gone. And for a moment, the group regretted the loss of their brother in arms. After that moment, the crazed dwarf continued sticking his War Axe into Warrick’s stomach.
“And you also ruined my puppet!”
“That is my head you are talking about Lee…” Orsik mentioned.

Asylum of Terror – Part 7-7

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Asylum of Terror - Part 5-7

“He died?” Lee said when he got out of the fiery traps himself.
“Why… yes. I think my inflated bubble here is right. Our dearest colleague died,” Snails answered. Sighing, he then added: “I tried to heal him, but every attempt I made was futile!”
“Couldn’t you just give him a potion?”
“Let’s not point fingers here and say who could have done what.”
“Agreed,” Warryn mentioned, “Don’t forget that we do in fact have a ritual scroll to raise the dead.”
“Aye, and let’s not forget that we use that one on a useful component of the team.”
“My barbaric monster here is right,” Snails agreed. Pointing to the late cleric, he added: “What is the worth of a cleric that can’t even survive a few deadly death traps of certain death.”
“For a starter, I’ll keep you guys alive,” a voice muttered in the dark. The adventuring group looked around, in a short glance of fear. But then they calmed down when they saw the spectral light of Orsik’s ghost closing near on them. Snails even had the guts to sigh.
“You can’t even keep yourself alive,” Lee laughed.
“You die, awful way. Think you can lead, command, plan, organize, but you step into fire, burning, burning!” Elvin nodded.
“Yes, you don’t make a very good first impression with that argument,” Warryn replied. If Orsik had any eyebrows left, this would be the moment he would frown.
“First impression? Warryn, the only reason you four are standing here is because I brought you together.”
“That might be the case, but I think a lot of the dead in this dungeon are capable of that. Our question is: why should we resurrect you?”
“Warryn please, just execute the ritual.”
“You know how much that will cost me? The scroll itself is worth five hundred gold pieces.”
“Warryn! Do not waste my time any further and use the damn scroll!” The four remaining adventurers glanced at each other for a moment. Then they shrugged their shoulders, silently agreeing to the matter at hand. The ritual would be performed. An extended rest, necessary for the happening would be taken. Orsik would be resurrected.

The adventurers sat quitely as the wizard did everything that was nescessary for the ritual to perform well. Little resting was assured. Although everyone of them used the moment to tend to their wounds and catch a breath so they could act as formidable as before, no one really slept. They just closed their eyes for a moment. And a few didn’t even do that. The adventuring group knew it wasn’t wise to sleep in a place like this. They would be defenseless in such a state. And being defenseless in the Asylum was simply asking for problems. Even if the traps wouldn’t kill them and the countless wondering monsters would leave them alone, then they would still get troubled by any number of tormenting spirits. Not to say: by Orsik. Because, even though he might have once been one of their allies, as a ghost, he couldn’t be trusted. If the former cleric would possess one of them, then he would have absolute controll over any motoric function the possesed person has. Then he would trap someone in his own body, not a welcome foresight.
“It is done,” Warryn said after a couple of hours.
“Finally,” Lee replied. Elvin looked interested at the wizard as he spoke the right words and embedded the body of Orsik with the required magic. But he was soon disappointed, as nothing happened.
“Is there a problem Warryn?” Orsik asked. The wizard answered reluctantly:
“Yes.”
“Did you make a mistake?”
“No.”
“Then why am I not resurrected?”
“I don’t know.” Warryn glanced at the dead body and again, his frustration seemed to take the upper hand. He looked back at Orsik’s ghost, then his eyes turned to his other three companions, who instinctly took a step back. Elvin forced a smile on his face.
“No problem, no issue, no no. Mistakes happen, you know, miscalculations, misinformed, misinterpreted, it is probably just a slight problem, like a wrong dosage, not enough reagents, a scratch in the scroll, bad pronunciation, everything can happen, not your fault.”
“I did not say it is my fault,” Warryn replied. His hand closed. Elvin shivered at the sight of it, vibrated through his body, and then shattered back to a couple of dragonflies, who flew nervously, but moreover, rapidly aside.
“Stop it Warryn, your powers are required for a greater goal then slaughtering your allies just because you are pissed,” Orsik said, “Just take my body with you. We’ll try to resurrect it once we get outside.”

Five gateways were scattered across the room, each with different colors and each inscripted with some words written in different languages. No one could make anything useful out of it though. Just like the words written on the first door they crossed here in the Asylum, it seemed to be nothing more then plain gibberish, written so that foolish adventurers would spill there blood a second time… or something.
“Warryn, I think this is the time to prove your worth once more. A hand of fate would be quite useful to us now,” Orsik mentioned in his ghostly prison. The wizard nodded. After taking a short glance at his ritual book, he waved his hand a bit, spraying the necessary components in the air, which resolved into a mystical hand.
“Hand of Fate,” the wizard spoke formally afterwards, “Which of these passages is the safest?” The hand quickly turned and pointed to the white gateway, right of where the adventurers stood.
“Hand of Fate. Which of these passages is the second safest?” The hand turned around and pointed to the gateway in front of the white gateway. Although the third question wasn’t entirely nescessary, considering the fact that they already knew which way they wanted to go, Warryn asked a similar question, just because his magic allowed him to do that. The hand turned, and pointed to a gateway on the far end, which was hereby indicated as the third safest option.
“White gateway is good, better than the rest atleast, no certain death behind this gateway, not like the other four, although I don’t know what the rest will contain, but a gateway that is chosen to be the safest, shall not contain that certain death… I think,” Elvin rattled.
“Aye, or you’ll be teleported back to the entrance of the dungeon. Is safe, not good.”
“We know the safest portal and the second safest,” Orsik concluded, “Someone just has to take a peek inside of it and see which one is best.”
“Well, my sparkling partner, why don’t you try it?”
“Because I have no solid mass and thus can’t enter a portal. If someone willingly lend their body to me, I will see what I can discover.” Lee’s laughter expressed everyone’s thoughts. No one would simply lend his body to the cleric. They had to be either unconscious or dead before they would be willingly possesed by Orsik.
“I suggest we take the second safest,” The dwarf said after a couple of moments.
“I suggest we burn them all,” The wizard added. Orsik neglected that last remark.
“Why the second safest?” He asked. Lee shrugged with his shoulders.
“Always take the second safest, that is the first thing I have learned about dungeons. The safest is usually just a backdoor to get outside. The second safest actually leads to treassures.”
“Makes sense. What about my body?”
“What about it?”
“Lee, we don’t know what is going to be behind that gateway. It might be a narrow room, where we don’t want a body hanging around to fill up the room, or it could be filled with enemies, so you don’t want to get stuck with a body to carry around with…”
“… We’ll just leave your body here then, don’t worry about it…”
“You are not going to leave my body. Or atleast, not all of it. You need some of it to ressurect me.”
“Not all of it you say?”
“That is correct… wait, what are you doing?!”
“I am making a puppet,” Lee grinned as he chopped Orsik’s head of with a single swing of his waraxe. Holding the head at the jaw, he opened the mouth of the cleric’s body, and morbidly moved it around while saying:
“Hello, I am Orsik, and this puppet is my one chance to survival.” The sparkle of light furiously illuminated a bit more. Then the cleric calmly said:
“You are a horrible… horrible person.”
“Thank you,” Lee replied, “It is what I do.”

Finally choosing for the second safest portal, the adventurers walked through it, one by one. But once they crossed the portals, all signs of their existense simply disappeared. They couldn’t be heard. They couldn’t be seen. They didn’t even got back to say what was behind the portal. And as more of them got through, the remainder felt the scense of fear growing. It made Snails grew tense, Lee focused and Elvin jumpy. It was a moment where everyone could feel the shivers in their spines, as they knew they were about to risk their lifes by stepping into the unknown. And with their final steps, they were sucked into the portal and transported by a kind of magic none of them could really explain. Untill they reached the other side. A small room. With nothing more than two levers to fill it up with.
“I see a hole here in the wall, small, not that small though, a rat could walk through it, or a couple of my bugs, you know, the bugs I use when I shape shift, although I don’t know if butterflies are technically considered to be bugs.”
“Cant see anything of value in here,” Orsik said when he searched in said hole, “It is an hollow wall. Couple of inches wide. Can’t see a ventilation shaft in here.”
“So, we try the levers,” Lee concluded.
“Why levers? Levers sounds awful, we are in the asylum remember, big traps, big traps everywhere, levers trigger traps, traps are bad.”
“Know anything better?”
“We can burn it…” Warryn pointed out.
“WE ARE NOT GOING TO BURN IT!” Orsik shouted, “Warryn, Lee, activate both levers at the same time.” The dwarf and the wizard looked at eachother briefly, seemingly content with the idea, and thus did as ordered. With a click, the levers were turned. And with a click, a shaft opened inside the hollow wall, just big enough to let a single candle drop out of it. The ghost was glad. In one way or another, he knew it wasn’t an ordinary candal. Perhaps it was the color, or the way it dropped out of the shaft that gave him that idea. More likely, it was due to the place where they were now; the Asylum wouldn’t simply give them a free candle if it wasn’t necessary to have later on. Wherever they were going to use it: this candle would most certainly guide them through the rest of the dungeon. Then, Orsik could hear a third click and a second shaft opening. Floating outside of the wall, the light he emitted turned white by the sight of what the second shaft had just unleashed. He hoped the rest of the adventuring group would survive the snakes that have just landed on their heads.

Asylum of Terror – Part 6-7

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Asylum of Terror - Part 4-7

After travelling back to the center point where they defeated the four skeletons, they looked at the two remaining doorways and picked one of them; which led to a corridor filled with tubes, as if the entire floor was covered with it. This wasn’t really the case of course. One single tile didn’t show signs of this affection.
“Trap. Death trap. Might kill people. Lots of people. Depending on the amount of people. I guess fire would come out, but water is also a possibility, or gas, well, of course gas, gas like in the other room, lots of gas, I am not going,” the druid warned excited, as he pointed towards the blank piece of floor. He stepped a step back, changed back into a swarm of miscellaneous bugs and waited like the others for Snails to sigh out loud; a typical sign in which he offered, reluctantly, to go first. Elvin flew one more time up and down to say thanks and then looked at Warryn as he lifted the floating disk one more time, carrying the rogue on it as well. It went quite well. Snails did manage to get across the tubes. He didn’t even got hurt. Well not until the rogue screamed out due to the fiery wall that was just behind the next corner… a possible incarnation for any adventure who walked into it… or simply flew in it, like Snails did. An abrupt vibration held the disc still, its corners getting scorched by the flames, but the rogue sighed relieved. Apparently, Warryn acted just in time.

“So… how do we get across?” Lee asked when all five of them crossed the tubes with no significant damage. As a matter of fact, the tubes didn’t really do anything till the blank square of space in the middle was entered. When the brave Orsik tried that, he discovered that the tubes unleashed a series of flames that were simply… deadly. No serious harm was inflicted however, because the Cleric quickly jumped off the tile, and ended this nightmare.
“We can burn it,” Warryn suggested, proving his point by summoning a fireball in his palm.
“Warryn… seriously?” Orsik glanced at Warryn, “You want to burn… fire?!”
“When in doubt: burn it, I always like to say. Remember the saying: fight fire with more fire. Also, what do you want me to do instead? Use my cold spell powers on it? That is just… wait… that just might work.” But when the icy spell was cast, none of the flames were even a fraction reduced. This solution did not work.
“That was useless,” Lee concluded, talking like he had known that right from the start. Pointing at Snails he commanded: “Why don’t you try it?”
“Try what, my potential meat wall?”
“Well… err… something right? Just show those flames who is the boss!”
“I can take a look at it if you want.”
“Yes, that sounds like an excellent plan.” But Snails didn’t find anything that could be helpful. He could only tell the flames weren’t natural, because the flames just kept on going. No cold spell, bucket of water, or using sand to smother it would be enough to put the fire out. If there was a way past it, then it should work with some sort of mechanism. Or this trap was just designed to keep any unwanted visitors at bay. But Orsik immediately shook his head.
“The Asylum doesn’t want us to leave. It is written that this dungeon uses its treasures to lure any adventurer to seek it out, so it can feed on the souls of the dead. No use to lure them if you are going to scare them away afterwards.”
“Wait, you didn’t tell that… it feeds on our souls?”
“Scared, my indisputable fierce and absolutely weighted champion?” Snails asked. Lee narrowed his eyes a bit and held his weapon to Snails’ face. But before he continued his attack, he was distracted by a cleric talking.
“It does not matter. I do not intent to die. Most likely, the dungeon wants us to go towards the flames, instead of leaving it, so I think if I just do this… ah, see, there we have our solution,” Orsik said after he walked a bit closer to the fire. Apparently, he activated some sort of pressure plate, just in front of the fire. The result wasn’t absolute, there were still a lot of flames burning in the distance, but at least the first couple of yards were flame-free. Confidently, the cleric kept on walking, till he has activated a second trigger in front of him. That mechanism brought the flames back to life…
“And thus, our cleric dies,” Warryn stated when he saw Orsik’s body disappearing behind a curtain of fire. “Burned to death. A shame we weren’t there to watch.”
“Damn you… why!?” Lee screamed out in frustration. The three of them looked confused.
“What is it, my ridiculously looking leprechaun?” Snails wondered.
“Quit the mocking you little… or taste my axe once more! Don’t you guys know… He had the bag of holding!”
“Bag of holding? But that means our gold is lost, spare equipment, reagents, stuff, all kinds of food, dinner, yes dinner, we don’t have any dinner anymore! I am hungry,” Elvin spoke shocked. But as he stumbled towards the flames, in total agony of the loss, he triggered the mechanism again, and once again, the flames felt down, revealing the same amount of flameless squares as before. In between, Orsik stood, alive and well.
“There are multiple flaming walls in this corridor, each with a couple of yards of free space in between. If we activate the mechanisms correctly, we should get behind it. Act by my command. And quit the whining.”

One by one, the adventuring group stepped on the individual pressure plates, carefully listening to Orsik’s instructions and even more so: paying close attention at which trap was triggered by which person, because basically, everyone knew no one would care if the other gets roasted if they pressed the wrong plate. It went quite well. Even though they just moved a single yard at a time, they did get closer to the end. And when Snails, Warryn and Elvin saw the last of the fiery walls disappear, they didn’t wait, but immediately jumped their way to the seemingly safer ground behind the flaming corridor.
“Okay, now I can activate this pressure plate, so Lee can get a bit closer, and then you, Warryn, have to step on the final plate so I can get across,” Orsik shouted and did as he said. Lee did his part as well. Warryn on the other hand, took a bit time thinking as he looked behind. Then he shouted:
“Orsik, didn’t you say we should only move when you tell us to?”
“Yes, that is correct. And now I tell you to step on the final pressure plate.”
“So we shouldn’t move, until you specifacilly say so?”
“That is right Warryn. If you would move before I say so, then the fire will arise and block your way to the specific plate. We have to do this in the correct order.”
“Ah right,” Warryn said, when he looked at the fiery wall behind him. “And lets just say someone would in fact move too soon; how can we negate that process and return to the former position, so the other two party members can get across as well.”
“You moved too early didn’t you?”
“I wasn’t the only one!”
“Well, all you have to do is get back. We can still reach the end, but we need someone to get there and step on the trigger.” Warryn looked doubtful at the fiery wall. There was no way he would get across. Willingly, that is.
“Yeah, that is not going to happen. Atleast, not by me…” Warryn replied, followed by a confirming “not me” from Snails, Elvin and even Lee, who wasn’t close to it anyway. The cleric mumbled a bit, but none of them could hear what it was, and that is probably for the best. Still, Orsik readied himself. Looking at the pressure plate in the distance, he knew he could reach it without any permanent damage, if he just managed to jump across the pressure plate in front of him. He sat down and stood up. He stretched his arms and legs, sheeted any loose objects, and then, he ran. He ran as fast as he could, got into position, placed his foot on one of the tiles and jumped. It only took a blink of a moment to realize he miscalculated, placing his foot on the very pressure plate he tried to dodge. Shocked, he saw the flames rise. And he didn’t even have time to prepare for the impact.

A flaming ball emerged from the fiery wall, one at which Warryn quickly reacted by activating his shield. But the ball wasn’t part of the trap; the screams indicated something far worse.
“Quickly, get in the water!” the wizard shouted and pointed to the small puddle of liquid that was originated on their side of the corridor. Although Orsik seemingly lost any rational sense while being scorched to death, he managed to focus his attention to the words the wizard said. One flaming step at a time, he got closer, till he stood before it with relief. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t wait. He didn’t check whether the named liquid was in fact just water. And he didn’t knew what it actually was, till he dropped himself face first in the puddle.
“AAAAAAAARGH!” Orsik screamed when he jumped back up. But even his worthy attempts to escape the acid he just willingly jumped into, seemed futile.
“Help me! HELP ME!” Lee heard the screams, but could not reach. Elvin could reach, but was not willing to. Warryn helped, reluctantly.
“Help me…” a crippled and tortured cleric spoke when he got out. Only Snails could hear his muttering and react in time. But all he did was smile.
“If you can’t keep up, you’ll stay behind. Isn’t that what you told me?” Orsik grinned. Beaten in his own game. And that grin would mark his remains forever.

Asylum of Terror – Part 5-7

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Asylum of Terror - Part 3-7

With a chivalry that also might have been paranoid behavior, Snails opened the door to the next room in order to let Orsik walk in. The cleric didn’t enter however. The suspicious look on his face foretold a series of obvious traps in the chamber the rogue wasn’t happy with.
“What is wrong?” Snails asked, but he got no answer. Instead, the cleric simply made room to let the rogue have a look, an invitation the Halfling didn’t protest to, even though he was now dangerously close in Orsik’s reach. His professional instinct somehow informed him that this wasn’t the time for petty arguments. The room clearly contained something far worse than the backstabbing of a cleric.
His eyes told him something else, because what he saw were simply… tiles. Tiles in various colors and various sizes, but tiles nonetheless. A door on the far end of the room marked the location to which they should be heading.
“Tiles seems to be bad. Very bad. Asylum of Terror bad. Asylum of Terror is bad, and so are these tiles. Tiles are in the Asylum. Tiles are bad,” rattled Elvin. The rest of the group remained silent.
“Let me try this,” Lee offered. A pebble flew through the air and hit one of the red tiles, after which very little happened. It made a sound. A sound like anything here in the Asylum made: one without echo, too much focused to match with a natural sound, yet without becoming supernatural. It was somehow in between. And it felt strange.
A second stone flew through the air, a bigger one this time, and aiming for the blue tiles. It was a successful hit and the larger rock made a bigger sound. But no more than that. It was just a bigger sound.
“It is clear that this is not going to work. Colleagues, I suggest we find another way out. I am not planning to step on the tiles to find out what will happen.”
“Agreed,” Lee answered and immediately stepped back. With a last careful inspection he wiped the dust from his shiny purple cape, an unique example that ought to look “fancy”. Looking at his axe, he saw himself in its reflection and did the same with the dust that had arisen on his face.
“You guys coming?” Lee asked. Warryn shook his head.
“I am not letting myself getting defeated by a damn floor. I can just make a floating disk and let someone fly over it.”
“You can do that?”
“Of course I can; I am a wizard. I just cannot carry myself across it. But if someone can open the door and get any treasures that lie behind it, then we can carry on.”
“Ah,” Lee nodded, “Not me.”
“Not me, not me, not not not me!” Elvin agreed. Orsik instantly confirmed this message with his own:
“I can’t go. A possible quick and absolutely painful death isn’t fit for a healer. You guys need me.” Snails looked at the three with discontent.
“I see, and the rogue is expendable. Good to know. Well, at least I’ll have first pick when we find any valuables.” With an impatient gesture, he asked Warryn to begin with the procedures.

The best description of the device that was made, was that of a big floating and especially shiny disc, on which Snails set his foot on. Driven solely on the power of the Wizard’s will, the disc entered the room, carrying the small rogue through the door opening.
“Back in a bit,” Snails sighed. The nonchalance of his attitude quickly disappeared as the walls of the room surrounded the Halfling more and more. As soon as he was in the very middle, all he was focused on was the door, with his thieves’ tools carefully held in his hands. Inch per inch, the disc came nearer. Until the disc stopped and Snails could begin his work.
“Try the door handle!” Lee shouted immediately. Snails burrowed his face in his hand. As if he would ever forget that. With a scent of mockery, he replied:
“My little dwarven friend, I thank you.”
“Ain’t little, you puny Halfling!”
“Well, is brave bloated warrior more of your liking then?”
“Aye, don’t know, is a War Axe in your belly more of your liking?” Snails smiled at the increasing anger of his dwarven ally, but quickly refocused his full attention to the door before him. Then with one hand on the thieves’ tools and with the other on the handle, he kneeled down, reducing the impact of a possible trap explosion with half his length.
“Brace yourselves!” The rogue warned, after which he turned the handle and unleashed… nothing yet. But as he stood up, he did see two snakes in front of him. And they were big. As is if couldn’t get any worse, Snails looked at the walls next to him, and detected a couple of small holes inside it. Ironically, he didn’t have to wonder long why they were in it. In fact, as soon as the rogue screamed out loudly:
“Snake… Snake…. Snaaaaaaaaake!!!”, he stumbled back when he saw the poisonous gas released from the various holes. It just wasn’t his day.
“Get me back idiots! Get me back!” The group behind him hesitated, discussing the pro’s and cons of leaving Snails at the place he was currently at. Snails could just hear Lee say something about: “if we leave him there, we won’t get any of his equipment”, before he saw the entrance, between him and the corridor they were waiting, being closed by a massive stone wall. It really wasn’t his day.
“Guys?” he shouted again when the snakes closed in on the rogue. They hissed at him. And with every few inch they crawled towards Snails’ legs, the rogue stepped back, till he reached the very border of the disc. Already, he felt the influence of the toxic gas. It was just a small cough, but when he looked at his hand, he saw that it was covered with blood, instead of just spit. Those so called “team mates” better hurry up.

A sudden vibration of the disc indicated that the adventuring group made their decision… just in time. The snakes fell of the disc before they could reach the poor Halfling and the gas seemed to escape from the room as a loud noise foretold that the corridor was about to open once more. Snails looked back, saw that Lee had apparently used his heavy shoulders to lift the boulder, and quickly duck when the disc tried to make way through the small opening Lee had created. Snails was save. Lee on the other hand got bit by the snakes when they charged into him, but the wound didn’t seem to be fatal, and the dwarf quickly reacted by putting the stone back in its place. The heroes stood there for a moment, regaining their strength and having a short rest to process the experiences they were just faced with. Especially the rogue learned a vital lesson. There was no way he could guarantee his safety as long as he travelled with the other four adventurers. But even with this information, he didn’t worry. Not anymore. Of course, he would never forfeit his perception, nor let his guard go down, but a successful rogue didn’t do that in the first place. He wasn’t raised to fear death. His only intention was to enjoy the little pleasures of life… or the big ones, if they indeed found the treasure the cleric had foretold. His future was as instable as it can get, with allies who are as trustworthy as his enemies. Still, it would all work out in the end.

Asylum of Terror – Part 4-7

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Asylum of Terror - Part 2-7

It didn’t take long to find a suitable guide who was willing to show them the right direction, as there was only one man known to do that kind of things. The price he asked was a mere two hundred and fifty golden pieces, an amount none of the adventurers had in their pocket, but after a bit of haggling, he agreed to escort the adventurers for a few pennies less. He even guaranteed they would get their money back, once they got out of the dungeon.
“Seeing the fact that that will never… ever… happen,” their guide smiled. Snails shrugged with his shoulders:
“Well, my most fortunate guide, I think differently.”
“Aye,” Lee agreed, “My war axe has claimed many battered skulls and isn’t done yet.”
“Alright,” the guide replied, “In that case, I’ll leave you guys here. I think you can manage to do the rest on your own. The dying part, that is.” Warryn grinned and almost immediately engulfed his body with fiery flames. Wielding a ball of deadly magic in his right hand, he then turned to the man that was about to walk away.
“Not so fast. I think I rather want to claim my gold now, if that is all right with you.” The escort looked at the wizard briefly with discontent, then shook his head and made a subtle motion with his hand. Before any of them could react, he then disappeared, only to reappear in the distance, on top of the mountain peak. No way they could reach him.
“A shame,” Warryn said disappointed. He negated the effect of his fiery spells and turned back towards the dungeon. With Lee in the front, they then left. Snails even smiled. He knew everything would work out the way he liked it.

The Asylum of Terrors itself didn’t seem to be that “likeable” though. The butterflies that formed Elvin’s body fluttered nervously when they saw the skeletons that filled the room on both sides. Small, large, slim or broad-shouldered, all sizes seem to be represented in this room and by the looks of it, all races as well. In a short glance, Lee could distinguish the tail of what seems to have been a small dragon, while Warryn set fire to a couple of deceased goblins. The room was obviously a warning, displaying its victims in ways that could only indicate the horrors that will be introduced further on. Snails even wondered for a moment why one of the skeletons was not only scorched from top till bottom, but also seems to have lost a leg or two. Seems to be a bit… overkill?
“Blood must be spilled before you can enter,” Orsik mumbled when he saw the inscription on the other side of the room. It was on top of a solid door, an unbreakable object, even for those with the might of a giant. Lee shrugged his shoulders.
“Let me handle this,” he said as he grabbed for his war axe. Securely, he moved his axe towards his left thumb and carved it with a small cut, just big enough to release a single drip of blood, which he spilled on the door handle. Nothing happened.
“I think, my good friend, you have to be slightly more bloodied to satisfy the spirits of this dungeon,” Snails concluded. Lee nodded and moved his axe again with a slow pace towards his thumb, but suddenly, his movement stopped. He looked at his thumb, which looked fine. He looked at the hand that was carrying his axe, which looked fine. He looked down towards his stomach… and there was a blade sticking out of it.
“Snails?”
“Yes, my fellow colleague?”
“Why?”
“You wanted to check out whether the door would open or not. Well here you have it: it doesn’t work… yet. But that can always change… let me try again!”
“No, I meant: why do you get in range of my war axe when you backstab me?”
“What do you mean with… oh… crap.” Lee immediately pushed the Halfling back, reaching for his war axe, just before Snails could get in fighting position himself. With a fiercesome blow, the dwarf planted the axe in Snail’s stomach and prepared for another attack just when he heard the sound of a door opening.
“It worked!” Lee grinned, “I spilled enough blood. Thanks to our most unfortunate Snails buddy here who dared to invoke the wrath of Lee Putter upon him. Sorry about the pain little one; I aimed to kill, but apparently I missed.”
“Lee,” Orsik spoke.
“Yes?”
“It has a door handle you know.”
“Aye, so I know.”
“Then why didn’t you use it?”
“Things like that never works in a dungeon. Magical tricks and such.”
“Then why did the door open when I used the door handle?”
“You opened it by using the handle?”
“That is what I say, yes.”
“And it worked?”
“It did so.”
“Well, it obviously wouldn’t have worked if I did not spill enough blood. Fix the little man with your heals cleric, and let’s go!”

The corridor they continued their journey through had a distance of no more than a couple of yards, but it was a clear extension of the horrors they had just passed. The walls almost seemed to be darkened by something… well… dark. It was as if all the shadows in the world had chosen these specific walls to make their permanent home. Even the bright light Warryn made seemed to be dimmed somehow. The Asylum of Terrors wasn’t a natural place. It was old, but missed the dust it should have after centuries of absence. And although everything was empty, nothing made the sound of a normal echo. It felt more as if the sound was created and captured somehow, screaming to be released from its spot, but trapped till it was no more. Like everything in the Asylum would be captured and consumed in the end. And when they discussed the mysteries, they knew that they all felt the same.
But there was no time to think of these sinister feelings. As soon as they entered the room on the other side of the corridor, the adventurers felt alerted. Six pillars stood there silently waiting, almost like they were trying to fill the empty room, but could not block out the lonely feeling that embedded the chamber. The adventurers however, were not alone. They heard the sound of bones touching the floor. A loud and clear “pock” that was originated from one of the doorways. With a silent murmuring, Warryn expanded his light, showing the entire room… and the enemies that stood there. They grinned as only undead can do. And with their four arms they carried four swords, in which they were obviously trained in to do. Elvin gulped. And Orsik, the cleric, almost stuttered as he gave the order to attack, but there was no way he would show that kind of weakness.
When the order was given, Lee didn’t hesitate, in the foolish believe that his shiny plate armor would protect him from any attacks that would be made against him. He shouted and challenged the skeletons to come and get him, for which he was immediately punished and received eight attacks for. Most of the attacks were indeed blocked by his shield, and the one blow that carved his flesh only made Lee more enthusiastic for the fight. His fury brought slaughter amongst his enemies, but they didn’t die just yet.
Snails didn’t wait for any command, but immediately opened fire after moving an inch or two to have the perfect angle to shoot from. His arrows, launched by a decent size crossbow, made its way to the battle, missing Lee, but crippling the attacking skeleton enormously. A bone shattered. A crackling sound was heard. But the skeletons didn’t die just yet.
Orsik and Elvin assaulted the skeletons in melee combat and as the cleric bashed with his enormous Mordenkrad, the elf used his primal powers to damage the horde of skeletons with a single swarm of wasps. As Warryn finished this grand performance with one of his own spells, there was little left of the enemy forces. But they didn’t die just yet.
In fact, the skeletons just seemed to have learned a thing or two about the brave adventurers… and that is that they aren’t the people to mess around with. Instead of engaging the cleric, or the fighter for that matter, one of the skeletons returned to the doorway… and activated a switch. A loud noise arose and screams filled the rooms. Only when the dust disappeared, the three remaining adventurers could see what happened. The corridor behind them had collapsed. A huge blockade prevented Lee, Elvin and Orsik from reaching Snails and Warryn on the other side… if they were even alive to begin with. Now the tides had clearly turned. The skeletons outnumbered them with four to three. And they had thirteen more weapons to swing around with.
“Is that what you call fighting?!” Lee laughed as he blocked one of the attacks, but he breathed loudly under the constant pressure of the twelve attacks he had to withstand every few seconds. His shoulder already showed the first signs of injury. It wouldn’t take long before he was forced to the ground. Still his bravura didn’t end as he said:
“Ha, and stay down!” when he managed to knock the skull off, of one of the skeletons. The skeleton didn’t stay down. As a matter of fact, they didn’t even seem to care.
Orsik stumbled away from the fight, when he got hit by the same creature he just attacked. With his hand to his chest and the piercing wound that was clearly in it, he moved to the other side of the room, where he mumbled a quick prayer to the Raven Queen, hoping she didn’t welcome their other two party members just yet. And then he activated the lever again. With loud protest, the wall lifted. And the first thing he saw was an huge ball of magical energy launched out of it.
Orsik duck, but the ball wasn’t aiming for him. However, a skeleton in front of him was not that lucky and almost got knocked over by the impact, only to be pierced by Snails’ bolts afterwards. But the skeletons didn’t die just yet.

There is one thing people have to know about wizards, especially evil wizards. When they want things done, they will manage it, regardless the price others have to pay for it. It isn’t unheard off that they will burn an entire city, just to kill a single irritating rat. Warryn isn’t much different. When his eyes light up, when the wrinkles of frustration mark his face, you know bad things are going to happen. Very bad things. And not just for the enemies. Just. Very. Bad. Things.
“You did not enjoy comfort in life,” Warryn mumbled, closing his eyes, as he prepared the spell.
“You did not enjoy the peace of death,” Warryn continued, as he rose his palm.
“But I can tell you one thing: YOU WILL REST NOW!” An explosion originated at one of the tiles on the floor where a skeleton was standing on, but instead of fire they could feel air bursting out of it. Warm, soothing air. An atmosphere where a person could stand in forever. One that reminds the person of the old days, where he slept in a bed and was cuddled by his mother. Snails remembered, and felt asleep smiling. Elvin remembered, and felt asleep calmly. The skeletons didn’t remember, but felt unconscious nonetheless.
“Finish them!” Orsik shouted, and the adventurers did. While the skeletons where lying defenseless on the ground, Lee and Warryn turned the room into a complete massacre. And when they were done, the battle was over. But Snails didn’t wake up just yet.

“Good work Warryn, we couldn’t have done it without you. Now tell me how we can wake him up so we can continue on our journey.” Warryn looked at Snails and then back at Orsik. While scratching his beard, he thought, and thought, and thought a bit more. And every minute that passed Orsik’s eyes narrowed a bit more, until the moment had passed he was just looking unhappy.
“You do know how we can wake him up right?” Orsik asked impatiently. Warryn looked again at Snails, a little Halfling with a thumb in his mouth and a childish smile on his face, but shrugged his shoulders.
“I don’t know. Never thought of that. We wizards break things, we don’t fix it,” Warryn replied. Lee chuckled, at which Orsik gave a devastating look at. Lee clearly didn’t care.
“But Elvin managed to wake up. How did you do that?” Orsik asked. Warryn took a short glance at the elf, who displayed his radically hyperactive self one more time as he run around and triggered the various traps that were scattered amongst the room. Orsik sighed.
“Okay, you are right, Elvin never seems to sleep anyway. But there must be a way right?”
“I can set him on fire.”
“You are not setting him on fire…”
“Why not, it is not like you have any moral obligations to keep him alive.”
“No, but I am the one that has to heal him then. If you can heal him afterwards, fine, go ahead, burn him.” Warryn thought, and thought, and thought again. But in the end, he knew it wasn’t worth a healing potion, although setting someone on fire always is really funny to do.
“I know what we can do,” Lee said, “We can steal his equipment, leave him here to rot, and just go away.”
“Excellent idea I might say. We can also set him on fire afterwards.”
“Stealing you say?” Orsik replied, completely ignoring Warryn’s words. The idea… intrigued him. It wasn’t as if the cleric came here for the fun of slaughtering monsters. No, it was his greed that made him form this group of adventurers. It was his greed that made him crave for the loot they would find here. But, seeing the fact that they didn’t find a single piece of equipment yet, this solution seems to be formidable.
“We are not going to kill him, nor leave him, but I agree with you Lee, he wouldn’t miss… a couple of items… right?” With a smile, he grabbed his bag of holding and placed it next to Snails’ head, whereafter he slowly started to pillage the poor rogue’s body. Of course it was unclear when the Halfling would in fact wake up, but one thing was certain: it wouldn’t happen in the next few minutes. At least. Orsik had the time to rob him of all the treasures the rogue carried around and still play dumb when the Halfling woke up and discovered his tragic loss. That was the idea. Of course, such ideas do not work out properly if the rogue slowly started to open his eyes before; let’s say, just when Orsik discussed the market price of the crossbow he just took. At that time, Orsik’s death was inevitable.
“Cleric, what do you think you are doing?” Snails said when he saw what was going on. Orsik stuttered, looking at Lee and Warryn for any back up, but of course they were on the other side of the room, probably enjoying the upcoming fight they had just created. And if it wasn’t bad enough, he could also see the dwarf tripping over the first magical item found in the Asylum, a war axe, which he claimed for himself.
“So, what did you think you were doing?” Snails asked again. Orsik cursed Lee for his suggestion, but didn’t show his frustration. What was he going to say: Lee set him up to this? Like he would ever admit that he had done the very thing the mindless dwarf suggested. Looking Snails in the eyes, with an straight face and no sense of remorse, he simply answered:
“If you can’t keep up with the pace, then you stay behind. It is what we have all agreed to.” For a moment, it was as if Snails could kill Orsik right there and then, punishing him for the almost obscene manner in which he tried to justify the pillaging of his body. But then he smiled. A smile far worse than any attempt to kill the cleric. It was the smile that underlined an hostility that would last a life time. If both Orsik and Snails would make their way out of the Asylum, only one of them would actually reach the city. Snails nodded:
“Oh, my dearest of all colleagues, I understand. I understand it perfectly well…”

Asylum of Terror – Part 3-7

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Asylum of Terror - Part 1-7

The dungeon was titled according to its famous reputation. The Asylum of Terror. A dark place deeply burrowed between the mountain peaks. One single road leads to this monstrosity, a road known only by a few people and crossed by even less. But some foolhardy adventurers remain who questions its reputation and dares to walk upon the forsaken stones of which the Asylum was built on. The terrors, as most of these foolish heroes say, are nothing to worry about.
Ironically, they are all right. The terrors are the least of concerns once they have entered the Asylum. They should be more aware of the fact that they will just die.

The latest group of adventurers knew that this misfortune could occur. In fact, they counted on it. But no one imagined that they could be the ones that would die. And no one really cared if the others would perish. More loot to go around, magical items to be distributed amongst the survivors, no problems with that right? It was a solid arrangement. No noble deeds to protect one another. Just every man on their self.
“And before we continue on this task,” Orsik mentioned, after drinking a drip of his ale, “I want you to be aware of this very fact. If one of you might die, then so be it. Your equipment will be an excellent addition to the earnings we will make in the Asylum. I even bought a bag for that special purpose. However, before we slaughter each other into oblivion, I should mention that the fortunes that we have now in our mortal hands, are nothing compared to what we will find there. We will enter the Asylum as one united force, but if you get stuck behind, then you are left behind. Agreed?”
They glanced at each other for a moment, secretly holding their weapons behind their back or gathering their magic in the palms of their hand. There was no doubt that any of them had the capabilities to finish this here and now, not to mention the urge to do so. In fact, even the chance of having such a meeting adjourned, between the deadliest and least trustworthy persons that have ever lived, would have been close to zero if there wasn’t any dungeon in the neighborhood, famous for its treasures.
“Aye,” Lee finally spoke. He stood up, showing an almost characteristic posture of an incompetent dwarf: fat, small and carrying the armory that fits his own arrogance, but his hand was clearly practiced in using the war axe he now slammed on the table, “My axe will crush the skull of my enemy. My body will withstand the puny attacks of my opponent. Show me the direction and I will lead you towards it!”
“And you Warryn?” Orsik asked, “Will you accompany us?” All looked at the wizard, who laughed and darkened the room with one gesture. And with his laughter, the darkness was replaced by a vision of the future world, where this very table was the last remainder of a planet that has now been shred into chaos. But at the sight of these horrors, the cleric didn’t twitch, he didn’t even blink with his eyes. He just repeated the question.
“Yes,” Warryn said and ended the curse he just cast, “My power is endless. My knowledge is supreme. But I know I can become stronger and more powerful than ever before. And then, when I am done, I will make this world burn before my eyes.” Orsik replied calmly:
“Interesting. What about you Elvin?” His eyes weren’t pointed to a single spot, but instead to a whole swarm of mosquitoes, hopping up and down as they were still struck by the despair of Warryn’s vision. But then they stood still, transformed, and were united to a single man, who radically nodded. The elfish druid, skilled through years of intense training and experience, would join this fellowship as well. Orsik seemed pleased.
“Now we just have to wait for Snails.”
“Who is this Snails figure?” Lee asked, “Something we can smash?”
“Something we can burn?” Warryn wondered.
“Something we can bite? Scratch? Kill? Wound? Is he a druid that shape shifts into snails? Why? Snails are icky.” Elvin thought out loud in rapid voice.
“I am Snails,” said a lonely figure in the dark that, as it seems, appeared out of nowhere. Before anyone could react to it, he stood in front of Elvin, looking him deep in the eyes and in a clear position to pierce him with his dagger. Instead of doing so, he just added calmly:
“I am a rogue. I ain’t something to smash. I ain’t something to burn and I am definitely not a druid that changes into snails. That would be in fact, I agree, kind of icky. So your right about that friend elf.” In an attempt to escape from the rogue’s gazing eyes, Elvin quickly changed back into a hundred individual bees, but it didn’t matter. All could escape but one, who Snails picked out of the air and kept trapped between his fingers.
“I am also not the ordinary rogue you see while you are crossing the street and see a couple of ruffians being executed. I actually survive. If you see me, then that is because I want you to see me. And when you are not, then you have usually a knife sticking in your back a few seconds later. I think we will all get along just fine.” Taking a good look at the group, he
squashed the bee in his fingers and then smiled.
“Yes, I think we will.”

Asylum of Terror – Part 2-7

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